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Update Center

We appreciate the help and support of our staff, students and families as we respond to the challenges of the pandemic.

September 14, 2021

Please check Infinite Campus today (9/14) in case your child's school bus route changed
 

As mentioned last week, it’s possible your child’s school bus route may change as we process transportation requests and we want you to be aware as soon as possible.  If your child is currently signed up for transportation, we ask that you please check your school bus routes in Infinite Campus the afternoon of Tuesday September 14 to verify the bus routes for Wednesday September 15. 

In Infinite Campus Parent Portal you can check the stop location, route number and time. If there’s no information, you are not signed up for school bus transportation..

Please know that we are all doing our best to work through challenges specific to school bus transportation and greatly appreciate your patience and understanding as we do so.  We apologize for any inconvenience the changes may cause.

We are always working hard to recruit additional drivers, but like many districts throughout the country, we are facing a shortage. If you, or someone that you know, is interested in joining and serving with our great driving team,  please visit www.ISD709.org/Jobs to apply.

August 24, 2021

Updates to ISD 709 Safe Learning Plan for the New School Year
 
Dear Families:
 
    Today we are sharing a brief overview of updates to the ISD 709 Safe Learning Plan related to the start of the new school year.  Details are available at ISD709.org/SafeLearningPlan.
    We want to do all that we can to provide safe, effective in-person learning as a district and community this school year.  During distance learning last year, fewer than 30% of students reported that they were comfortable with the learning model.  I heard very strongly from our students, families and staff that our students need in-person instruction.
    These COVID protocols, including mask wearing and encouraging vaccinations for those 12 years and older, are tools that can help keep local COVID rates down and ensure in-person learning this school year.  Many health organizations are recommending mask wearing in schools, including but not limited to: The Centers for Disease Control, American Association of Pediatricians, Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Medical Association, Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, Minnesota Chapter of the Association of Pediatricians and St. Louis County Department of Health.
  • Duluth Public Schools will begin the school year with students in-person 5 days a week.  
  • At this time, distance learning PK-8, as well as hybrid learning format are not being offered in the 2021-22 school year.
  • Students Grades 9 - 12 who desire distance learning are encouraged to enroll in ISD 709’s Academic Excellence Online High School. Learn details at ISD709.org/AEO.
  • Mask wearing will continue to be required for students age 2 and older, ISD 709 employees and the public in all ISD 709 buildings as the school year begins.
  • Children under 2 years of age or people of any age who are unable to tolerate wearing a face covering because of a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability are not required to wear a face covering.
  • Vaccinations for COVID-19 for those 12 and older are strongly recommended and encouraged, but are not currently required by the school district. 
  • Vaccine clinics may be offered in partnership with our community health partners. 
  • Information on Saint Louis County vaccine clinics can be found here.
  • The State of Minnesota’s vaccine locator can be found here.
  • The Safe Learning Plan also includes updated guidance for building use by the community, athletics & activities, cleaning and day-to-day operations, among other information.
   We will continue to work closely with the St. Louis County Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Education to monitor local COVID rates and state and federal guidance.  These safety protocols are subject to change as conditions and guidance changes.
   Thank you for your understanding and support, and best wishes for a healthy, safe and productive school year.
 
John Magas, Superintendent
Duluth Public Schools

August 12, 2021

To prepare for the new school year, please complete the following forms as soon as possible, thank you!
 
Dear Families:
 

We’re excited to welcome you and your child to the new school year!  

There are three important forms we are asking families to complete as soon as possible. Thank you in advance for providing this information, it will help school staff prepare to welcome and serve students in September.

1. 2021-22 Blended Learning 1 to 1 Agreement: Required for All Families Grades K-12 

  • If you are the parent/guardian of a student entering Grades 3 through 12, this form is an agreement to loan your child a Chromebook for the school year.  The device will be used as part of our Blended Learning Initiative. Blended learning enhances in-person learning by providing each student educational access to digital and online resources.  Blended learning is not distance learning.
  • If you are a parent/guardian of a child age 18 years and younger, this form provides consent for your student to use district approved online resources for instructional purposes.  To continue to provide students with the most effective tools to enhance their learning, teachers and librarians may use educational web-based programs and applications. Many of the educational web-based programs and applications require parent permission for children age 18 and under. 

Click here to fill out the Blended Learning form.

 

2. MN Department of Education Digital Survey

The MN Department of Education is asking all families to complete a Digital Survey.  

  • The survey will provide district-level summary data—in other words, no personal, identifying information—to MN legislators,  MN agency staff and their external partners for the purpose of improving educational outcomes and digital access for public school students across the state.

Click here to take the MDE survey.

 

3. Application for Educational Benefits Form 

We encourage families to fill out this form to help support important school funding.

  • Families qualifying for free/reduced school meals via this form may also qualify for reduced school activity fees, benefits and other discounts.
  • Approved applications generate state funding that provides important services and programs for Duluth students. 
  • A decline in approved applications now can result in loss of millions of dollars in school funding and less programs and services for students in the next school year.
  • Fill out the form anywhere, anytime - the process is secure, confidential, convenient and available 24/7.  

Click here to fill out the application. 

If you would rather complete hard copy forms, go to www.ISD709.org/BackToSchool.  Print and complete the forms and return them to your school office.

Again, thank you for taking time to complete these forms and best wishes for a great school year!

August 5, 2021

Masks Required In All ISD 709 Buildings Beginning Monday August 9, 2021
Includes all students age 2 and older, ISD 709 Staff and the public unless medically exempted, regardless of vaccination status
 
Dear Families:
 
   This message is to let you know our school district will require indoor mask wearing in all ISD 709 buildings beginning Monday August 9, 2021.  Masks are already required for students age 2 to grade 5 and ISD 709 staff who work with those students.  We are expanding mask wearing to all students age 2 and older, all ISD 709 employees and the public unless medically exempted, regardless of vaccination status. 
   This requirement runs until further notice and a final decision for the 2021-22 school year will be shared by August 24.
   We need to do all that we can to ensure in-person learning for all students this school year.  None of us are excited to return to mask wearing but we know it’s an effective tool for slowing COVID transmission, especially as the Delta variant continues to rise dramatically across the country and in Minnesota.
   This change is based on updated guidance from the CDC, MN Department of Health and MN Department of Education, recommending that all students, teachers, staff, and visitors in school buildings should wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. The St. Louis County Health Department has also recommended indoor mask wearing for all due to Substantial Community Spread. Masks will also continue to be required on school buses per a federal mandate.
   In addition to mask wearing we strongly encourage people 12 years and older to get vaccinated.  Getting vaccinated is one of the best things we can do to prevent getting or spreading COVID, to keep the local rates down and ensure safe in-person learning this school year.
   If you have yet to be vaccinated, we again encourage you to do so – information on Saint Louis County vaccine clinics can be found here. The State of Minnesota’s vaccine locator can be found here. The State of Minnesota is also offering $100 incentives to get vaccinated – more information on that can be found here. Additionally, most medical providers and local drug stores have vaccinations available.
   We will continue to work closely with the St. Louis County Department of Health, MN Department of Health and MN Department of Education to monitor local COVID rates and state and federal guidance.  These safety protocols are subject to change as conditions and guidance changes.  As we approach the beginning of the school year we’ll continue to share information with staff and families, including any updates to COVID safety protocols.
   Thank you for your understanding and continued support.
 
John Magas, Superintendent
Duluth Public Schools

Concern or question?

Student and staff safety is our top priority. If you have a question, concern or comment about any health or safety issue, please let us know.

Email: ReturnToLearn@ISD709.org

Resources: MN Department of Health

COVID-19 Hotline:  1-833-431-2053
Mon.-Fri.: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sat.: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Mental Health Crisis Line - Call: **CRISIS (**274747)

Resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Resources: St. Louis County Health Department

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